Husband, Father, Wage Earner, Jogger, Church Member— You try to be your best in all your roles: Being a Mason can make you a better man. Take a look through these questions and then ask yourself: "Can joining the Masons of Texas help me better myself through service to others?"
A Mason is a member of the world's oldest and largest fraternity. Masons join together because:
Masonry is a worldwide fraternity with the singular purpose of making good men better. It is neither a forum nor a place for worship. Instead, it is a friend to all religions which are based on the belief in one God.
Masonry, or Freemasonry, is a fraternity so old that its origins have been lost in time. It probably started with the guilds of stonemasons who built the great castles and cathedrals of the Middle Ages and might have been influenced by the Knights Templar, a group of Christian warrior monks formed in 1118 to help protect pilgrims making trips to the Holy Land.
Masonry was formalized in 1717 when the first "Grand Lodge" was formed in England. Today, there are about 13,200 Masonic lodges in the U.S.
The word "lodge" refers to two things: a group of Masons meeting in a particular place and the place in which they meet. The term, "lodge," comes from the structures which the medieval stonemasons built against the sides of the cathedrals during construction. During the winter, when construction work was stopped, they lived in their lodges and worked at carving stone.
Masonic buildings are sometimes called "temples", because much of the symbolism Masonry uses to teach its lessons comes from the building of King Solomon's Temple in the Holy Land.
All Masons believe in one God and in respect for each other.
Masons are men of charity and good works. In fact, Masonry is the world's leading charitable organization, contributing nearly $2 million a day to charitable causes which they have established themselves. Our hospitals for burned and crippled children are known worldwide and are just part of the work we do.
We're proud of our philosophy and practice of "making good men better." Therefore, only men of high character are considered for membership. Every applicant must state his belief in the existence of a Supreme Being. Atheists are not accepted into our fraternity.
You must ask a Masonic friend to recommend you. You must then sign a petition, stating your age, occupation and place of residence. Members of the Lodge will then vote on your admissions after careful consideration of your character and reputation.
Actually, Masonry isn't very secretive at all, although it sometimes seems to have that reputation. We make no secret of our membership — we wear rings, lapel pins and tie tacks with Masonic emblems. Our buildings are clearly marked and are listed in phone books. Lodge activities are even listed in newspapers in smaller towns!
Like most fraternities, however, we do have some secrets, and these fall into two categories:
We have special grips and passwords (like many other fraternal organizations) which we keep secret so that unscrupulous people can't pass themselves off as Masons to obtain assistance under false pretenses.
When you truly accept responsibility for your own life and realize that real happiness comes from helping others, you experience certain changes. It's almost impossible to put these changes into words, to describe them to others. (It's like trying to describe a sunset or the feeling you get when you hear our National Anthem.) It's not that these secrets" may not be told, but that they simply cannot be put into words.
Frankly, if we're a "secret society", then we're the worst-kept secret in town!
No. Religion plays an important part in Masonry, but Masonry itself is most definitely not a religion.
As we've already mentioned, our members must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason.
We open our meetings with prayer. And one of the first lessons we teach is that one should pray for divine counsel and guidance before starting an important undertaking. But we are not a religion. We believe strongly in the importance of religion and encourage our members to be active in the religion and church of their choice. We teach that without religion, a man is alone and lost and cannot reach his full potential.
We all use ritual every day. Shaking hands when you meet a friend is a ritual. Standing for the National Anthem before a baseball game is a ritual. Our lives are filled with ritual. Masonry uses ritual because it's an effective way to teach the important values we talked about earlier. Masonry's ritual is very rich because it's so very old. It has developed over centuries to contain some beautiful language and ideas. But when you think about it, there's nothing unusual about ritual. It's part of everyday life!
A degree is a stage or level of membership in the Masons. It is also the ceremony by which you attain the three levels of membership:
During the Middle Ages, when a man joined a craft, such as the stonemasons, he was first apprenticed. As he learned the skills of the craft, he became a "Fellow of the Craft." (What we call a "Journeyman" today.) And finally, he attained the level called "Master of the Craft."
Our degrees teach the great lessons of life-the importance of honor and integrity, of being a person on whom others can rely, of being both trusting and trustworthy, of realizing that you have a spiritual nature, the importance of self–control, of knowing how to love and be loved and of knowing how to keep confidences so that others may open up to you without fear.
As a candidate, you'll attend three meetings to receive the three Masonic Degrees. The Degrees are solemn, enlightening lessons and are an enjoyable experience with absolutely no uncomfortable or embarrassing moments.
It is through the Degrees that the principles of Masonry are taught and where you'll learn that your family and your own necessary vocations are to be considered above Masonry.
Once you become a Master Mason, you will be welcomed as a "Brother" in any of the thousands of Masonic Lodges throughout the world.
We all have many roles to fill in our lives. We're husbands, fathers, employees, neighbors and friends. We're all trying our best to be better men. What better way to live a life of service to others while making yourself a better man than in the company of your fellow Masons of Texas?
If you would like to know more about the Masons of Texas, call and I will have your lodge contact information.
Membership in Freemasonry
Membership, because it is a fraternity, is limited to men. He who would become a member must meet certain recognized requirements—high standards of character and reputation. It does not require that its members subscribe to any particular creed, or belong to any particular church. Church membership does not keep one out of or secure him admission into any Masonic Lodge. The profession of a belief in God and in a future life are the sole absolute requirements.
No one is excluded because of his membership in a particular church. There are, however, a few denominations which do not allow their members to become Masons. In some instances there is a mistaken impression that Freemasonry refuses admission to those who are members of certain denominations. This is inaccurate – it is the church, rather than Freemasonry, that denies them membership.
Many men do not understand the process of acquiring membership in a Masonic Lodge. No one is ever invited to become a Mason or to join a Masonic Lodge. Though all morally good men would be welcome in any Masonic Lodge, the man himself must first ask some Mason about becoming a member. Once he has done so, the requested Mason will secure an application blank, called a petition by our Lodges, and he has thus taken the first step. He must have two Master Masons who know him, or have interviewed him, sign his petition, vouching for his character and qualifications. A vote will be cast by the members of the Lodge to which he applies for membership, and generally, will be notified of his acceptance, and his initiation will be scheduled.
Having passed this ballot, the candidate receives the first of three degrees which make up the symbolic or Craft Lodge. This is designated The Degree of Entered Apprentice. The second degree is designated The Degree of Fellow Craft and the third as the Degree of Master Mason. Each Degree is a separate entity, and each of these degrees has certain rights and privileges, but all of the rights and privileges are attained only after the candidate has received the Degree of Master Mason.
After he has received each of the degrees, the candidate must commit to memory a catechism covering the degree received. He must be examined in open Lodge and prove his right to be advanced to the next degree. This serves a useful purpose, for it assures the Fraternity that each will know himself to be a Mason and be able to recognize others as members of the Craft by their manner of speaking. He will be enabled by such knowledge to visit other Lodges where he is not known, and where he most probably would be examined to prove his right to be admitted.
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